3 Weeks Post-Treatment

I haven’t been in a doctor’s office in 2-1/2 weeks!

Instead, I go to the gym – trying to increase my endurance and chip away at the 15 lbs I gained during treatment.  Also hoping to be ready the next time one of my old employers needs a Zumba sub!  I wear a goofy do-rag to squash down my hair, which still wants to stick straight out, especially when it’s wet.

Range of motion in my left arm is about 90% and the radiation burns are mostly healed.

I’ve been on a few very slow jogs.  It’s like sta23 days post-radiationrting all over again!  (Anything’s faster than being on the couch, though, right?)  Selena, I’ll move to the trails this week if the rain stays away – maybe that will make it more enjoyable!

I’ll also my dermatologist this week for a post-radiation skin cancer check and meet with the Y’s Wellness Director, as part of the Winship at the Y program.

The rest of the family is great, too.  Joey ran a PR this weekend in a 5K road race.  He and Sara had a special date at the Girl Scout Father/Daughter dance.  And Sam, after winning a huge trophy in Kid Chess – 2nd place in Blitz – capped off his week by dressing up as a 100-year-old for the 100th day of school.

Our thoughts are always with the Oregon Chases.

Thank you for checking in on us!
Nicole
1/25/13100th day of school

 

This little piggie

Sam’s painting from the art lesson I taught yesterday sure beats the last image I posted, right?

Thank you to everyone who expressed concern for my skin!  It’s healing quickly.  Radiation and its side effects were definitely the easiest of my treatment trifecta (chemo/surgery/radiation).

Next month, I’ll see Dr. Woods for my first post-radiation expansion.  And I’ll go back to Turning Point – I’m still wearing the compression sleeve, but no lymphedema massage until my skin heals.

Last week, I joined another research study – this one monitors the effects of exercise on survivorship.  For the next 6 months, Winship will pay our YMCA dues, while I log my physical activity and meet with the fitness director at our local Y each month.  She’s awesome and a little scary – the perfect motivator!

It seems that diet and exercise are the only things I can control now to help keep a recurrence at bay, so I’m all in!  I don’t quite have full range of motion in my arm, and static stretching is discouraged because of the burns, but I can move – just Zumba (not teaching, yet) and cardio/strength classes, so far – and it feels great.

Being back in a classroom was great, too.  25 first-graders, messy paint and dancing to a kid-friendly hip hop song is a heck of a lot more fun than cancer treatment.

Almost as tiring, though :)  You full-time teachers out there are rock stars!

Nicole

Skin after radiation

Yes, this hurts as much as it looks like it does.

Cue the fireworks

Today was my 30th and final radiation treatment.

Thank you, Erica, Debbie and Melissa.
Best of luck, brave souls who have come and gone through the waiting room.

Good riddance, gowns that have been a wardrobe staple for the past 11 months.

Happy 2013, friends and family.

Now sending all of my healing vibes to Oregon,
Nicole

23 down, 7 to go

Cancer didn’t hurt a bit, but treatment has given me all sorts of maladies.

My upper arm and axilla (fancy name for armpit) have mostly been numb since surgery.  Now, I feel burned.

My left shoulder, where the radiation beam exits, looks like it’s never seen sunscreen.  My chest is covered with brown spots, too, and the skin under my left breast looks charred.  I have a knot in my throat from the treatment to the lymph nodes above my clavicle, near my lower neck.

Left shoulder after 28 radiation treatmentsI’ve also lost some range of motion in my arm and the swelling is worse.

My plastic surgeon, dermatologist and physical therapist will have their work cut out for them after all of this!

Last week, we agreed with Dr. Torres to continue radiation through the full 6 weeks.   Tomorrow, I make up for Christmas Day by getting treated twice – at 9am and again at 3pm.  Next week, I get New Year’s Day off, but will have 2 treatments on New Year’s Eve.

But, Friday, January 4?  Done!

In the meantime, I practically have bangs!

Hair 4 months after last Taxol treatmentThank you for checking in,
Nicole